Report Title:

Health Benefits Trust Fund; Independent Legal Counsel


Allows the Board of Trustees for the Health Benefits Trust Fund to hire independent legal counsel.


H.B. NO.









relating to the health benefits trust fund.



SECTION 1. Section 28-8.3, Hawaii Revised Statutes, is amended by amending subsection (a) to read as follows:

"28-8.3 Employment of attorneys. (a) No department of the State other than the attorney general may employ or retain any attorney, by contract or otherwise, for the purpose of representing the State or the department in any litigation, rendering legal counsel to the department, or drafting legal documents for the department; provided that the foregoing provision shall not apply to the employment or retention of attorneys:

(1) By the public utilities commission, the labor and industrial relations appeals board, and the Hawaii labor relations board;

(2) By any court or judicial or legislative office of the State;

(3) By the legislative reference bureau;

(4) By any compilation commission that may be constituted from time to time;

(5) By the real estate commission for any action involving the real estate recovery fund;

(6) By the contractors license board for any action involving the contractors recovery fund;

(7) By the trustees for any action involving the travel agency recovery fund;

(8) By the office of Hawaiian affairs;

(9) By the department of commerce and consumer affairs for the enforcement of violations of chapters 480 and 485;

(10) As grand jury counsel;

(11) By the Hawaiian home lands trust individual claims review panel;

(12) By the Hawaii health systems corporation or any of its facilities;

(13) By the auditor;

(14) By the office of ombudsman;

(15) By the insurance division;

(16) By the University of Hawaii;

(17) By the Kahoolawe island reserve commission;

(18) By the division of consumer advocacy; [or]

(19) By a department, in the event the attorney general, for reasons deemed by the attorney general good and sufficient, declines, to employ or retain an attorney for a department; provided that the governor thereupon waives the provision of this section[.]; or

(20) By the Hawaii employer-union health benefits trust fund board of trustees."

SECTION 2. Section 87A-24, Hawaii Revised Statutes, is amended to read as follows:

"[[]87A-24[]] Other powers. In addition to the power to administer the fund, the board may:

(1) Collect, receive, deposit, and withdraw money on behalf of the fund;

(2) Invest moneys in the same manner specified in section 88-119(1)(A), (1)(B), (1)(C), (2), (3), (4), (5), (6), and (7);

(3) Hold, purchase, sell, assign, transfer, or dispose of any securities or other investments of the fund, as well as the proceeds of those investments and any money belonging to the fund;

(4) Appoint, and at pleasure dismiss, an administrator and other fund staff. The administrator and staff shall be exempt from [[]chapter 76[]] and shall serve under and at the pleasure of the board;

(5) Make payments of periodic charges and pay for reasonable expenses incurred in carrying out the purposes of the fund;

(6) Contract for the performance of financial audits of the fund and claims audits of its insurance carriers;

(7) Without the necessity of complying with the requirements of chapter 103D, retain auditors, actuaries, investment firms and managers, benefit plan consultants, or other professional advisors to carry out the purposes of this chapter;

(8) Establish health benefits plan and long-term care benefits plan rates that include administrative and other expenses necessary to effectuate the purposes of the fund; [and]

(9) Require any department, agency, or employee of the State or counties to furnish information to the board to carry out the purposes of this chapter[.]; and

(10) Hire independent legal counsel to advise or represent the board pursuant to section 28-8.3."

SECTION 3. Statutory material to be repealed is bracketed and stricken. New statutory material is underscored.

SECTION 4. This Act shall take effect on July 1, 2003.